Athletics and the Arts
Ah! Sports. If you’re an all-star, play it. You might be able to snag a hook with your talent. However, for the majority of us – we’re not that talented. A sport is quite a commitment. When I was on the tennis team, I would practice during 6th Period and 1.5 hours after school every day. And during matches, the tennis day sometimes would run until 6 or 7 PM. And I was only on JV.
Therefore, Varsity is a big deal. Especially if your team is good and you can win at State/National level. Much more so than clubs. Especially if you are team captain, which signifies that you are the cohesive glue that brings the team together. You’re the person that everyone respects and looks to when things are bad. That’s the kind of leadership these colleges are looking for – one that signifies the traits of a likeable, successful person.
Dance. Similar to sports. I hear that Troy is the National Dance Champions or something. But I’ve heard pretty much every other school boast similar things (Esperanza, Valencia). This makes me conclude that there are an infinite number of Dance Nationals (or at least enough so that every school can claim that they’re National Champions), downplaying the significance of each competition. I don’t know too many people in dance, but it’s probably equivalent to a sport in regards to college admissions.
Cheer. It has different levels – can be equated to a sport. Varsity Cheer is a varsity sport, JV is JV, etc. I suppose that cheer has another impact in its stereotype – most cheerleaders are popular and supposedly attractive (two qualities of a successful leader).
Music. Despite what many Asian parents like to claim and force their kids to do, playing an instrument is probably not the way to go… unless you’re the concertmaster of some famous orchestra. School bands and orchestras are probably weighted at a level lower than sports – maybe at the same level as JV or a Frosh-Soph team.We all realize that they take a lot of time and practice, but unlike varsity sports, it lacks exclusivity (again, unless you’re in a famous symphonic orchestra OUTSIDE of school).
Art (painting, etc.). Being talented at or showing a large interest in the arts is probably one of the best things that you could possibly do for your college admissions. Statistically speaking, many of the top artists from Troy have been accepted to the Big Kahuna schools (Harvard and Brown PLME), so I would assume that art has a significant role in their decisions.
If you’re extremely talented at an instrument, singing, or an art, you should probably submit a supplement to the college. This helps the college assess your adeptness in the area and will definitely benefit you if the work is excellent. On the other hand, if you submit sub-par work, I don’t know if it affects your application negatively, but it might show that you’re trying to bloat yourself to be something you’re not. But even if it doesn’t show that, there is inherently a doubt and distaste already put in the admission officer’s head. Therefore, submit only if you’re confident that it’s quality work.
Next up is internships, research, and summer camps.